Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dinner in Zamalek, Drinks at Odeon

Today, I had a fantastic, albeit it academically unproductive, day. My first outing out of the apartment was dinner in Zamalek with Mitchell, Erin, and Cynthia (friends from my classes) and Cynthia's Norwegian friend Ben. Erin and I got the same line-up: farfalle with tomato sauce and mushrooms, some hummus and bread, and a very rich chocolate fondant for dessert. The hot cab ride back Downtown was nearly unbearable with such full stomachs.
On the Greek Campus, Erin, Cynthia, and I took in Dr Ray Jureidini's seminar on female domestic workers in Egypt, which was really interesting. It talked about the informal status of domestic workers and how this left them in quite a vulnerable position vis-à-vis underpayment, abuses, and the like. He compared different nationalities with one another and how woman with each fared in Egyptian housholds.
The TA from my intro class, Natalie, with whom I lunched and gabbed at Beano's the other day, was at the seminar as well and so was Catherine from across the hall. Natalie, after the seminar, invited me along to have drinks with her and a couple friends at the Odeon Palace Hotel's rooftop bar. So it was that I ended up whiling away the evening with an Iraqi refugee who's ex-wife and son are still in Baghdad, a Lebanese-American girl who studied at Georgetown, and Natalie. It was absolutely fantastic. Now that I'm meeting people, my "good Egypt days" seem to outnumber my bad ones.
Tomorrow is class, the following day is a Rotary fundraiser, and in a couple of weeks, I'm going with Maged and his family to their Red Sea villa! Things are really picking up.
Things I miss from home: rain, pumpkin pie, apple butter, cranberries, oat bran, oh, and my friends and family
Things I love here: meeting people, halawa, aish, aseer 'asab, stuffed grape leaves, Mon Cherry juice

News of Egypt and the Middle East:
US Embassy attacked in Yemen, no Americans killed
Debate over nicotine patch use to help abstain from smoking during Ramadan
Still more members of the Muslim Brotherhood arrested yesterday
Driving in Cairo

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